These words come with seasonal wishes for more informed dialogues in the new year.
By MARY SANCHEZ
The Kansas City Star
Well end 2012 with the grief of Sandy Hook Elementary School still raw and discussions about gun control barely begun.
In Kansas City this past week, a 4-year-old boy was taken off life support after being shot for the second time in his short life.
Two Topeka police officers were murdered as they dutifully tried to protect the public.
On Saturday, a man was found shot to death in Kansas City, Kan. Another man died Sunday, shot in the back outside an apartment building in Kansas City, Mo.
And some question whether gun use is a problem in America. It certainly is in this region.
The gun debate ought to address the disconnect between people who see the world as a dangerous place, yet live in some of the safest communities, and those who live in high-crime neighborhoods and are more affected by the bloodshed that comes from guns.
Its the former group that seems to have had the upper hand in recent years in dictating public policy. Yet they arent likely to attend the prayer vigils where most gun deaths occur.
This isnt so much a split between urban and rural, although there are elements of that here. No matter where we live, most of us go for food to the grocery, not the forest.
No arrests have been made in the case of the 4-year-old. But if there are, its relevant to trace the gun used. How many owners did it pass through and were some sales unregulated before the killer used it on a child?
As for the dialogue, beginning with young people rather than adults might be fruitful, as they are less likely to be beholden to one view.
An insightful gathering would be of teenagers. Some could be of the urban core. They might have lost classmates to drive-bys and petty altercations punctuated by bullets.
The rest could be young men and women lucky enough to learn about guns from a safety-conscious father, a hunter.
A question might be: What did your community teach you about guns?
Expand the questions and, sooner or later, someone would have to admit that nonchalance toward weaponry exists everywhere.
Murders and suicides by gunfire occur in all communities, at all economic levels.
And for some, fun is a drive down a desolate road, shooting at whatever comes into view.
We dont term that a drive-by, and its not motivated by revenge. But it is irresponsible.
The culture of guns in America is still too often one of denial. And that is as true for rural and suburban America as it is for larger cities.
To reach Mary Sanchez, call 816-234-4752 or send email to firstname.lastname@example.org.